All in a Day’s Work

With Belshazzar off the scene, Daniel’s employer has changed for the third time in the book. We’ve turned the page to a new chapter, and Daniel 6, like the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in chapter 3, is one of the best-known stories in the book: Daniel in the Lions’ Den.

In one of the worst workplace stories ever, Daniel finds himself in a place where it’s impossible to please his Boss, his boss, and his colleagues at the same time. Because Daniel is such a good employee, his nasty coworkers are jealous and out for blood. But in order to find him guilty of anything, they have to create a scenario to entrap him – specifically, something related to his commitment to God: anyone who prayed to someone other than King Darius for 30 days would be cast into a den of lions.

The conspirators took their little plan to the king, hoodwinking him into going along with it, and then they lay in wait for Daniel. It wasn’t hard to catch him – the man prayed three times a day in front of an open window. No doubt delirious with their success, the conspirators hauled Daniel off to Darius, who was stunned at the turn of events he had unwittingly sanctioned.

Darius worked long and hard to change things for Daniel, but he was not able to undo what his signature had done. In language that later Gospel writers will pick up in their description of Jesus’ burial and resurrection, the narrator tells us how Darius sealed the lions’ den, spent a sleepless night, and rushed back to the den at first light. He didn’t find an empty den – but he did find a living Daniel, who told him that God had sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths and protect Daniel because he was innocent. Darius had Daniel hauled out of the den and his false accusers tossed in. With Daniel and the angel gone from the slumber party, the lions devoured their breakfast before it ever hit their plates.

The chapter ends with another decree by Darius – but this time he tells his subject that they must fear the God of Daniel because he is the living God, who endures forever and reigns over an eternal kingdom. He rescues, saves, and performs miraculous wonders. It’s no wonder Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John used the story of Daniel’s night in a “tomb” and his rescue from death as part of the backdrop for telling the story of a greater Daniel in a greater tomb and the greatest possible rescue from death.

8 responses to “All in a Day’s Work”

  1. An interesting comparison with the tomb/den and morning visitors to the tomb/den. And also it’s interesting to note the new faith and understanding that resulted after seeing that Jesus/Daniel was alive the next morning.

    1. I’ve heard/read the story hundreds of times but never picked up on this until about a year or so ago. Gives a new perspective to it. 🙂

  2. Jeffrey Askanazi MD Avatar
    Jeffrey Askanazi MD

    I am ready for another wager! My view is the Israel will as part of negotiations give up the Temple Mount. They need US support for an attack on Iran and of the 2 thorny issues, refugees and Jerusalem the only leeway is giving up the temple. This will lead to a Palestinian State but bring on Armageddon. So here is the bet: I have a box of chocolate as against getting the blog for a discourse on “The Abomination spoken of by Daniel” that says this time negotiations for a Palestinian State succeed at the cost of Israel giving up the Holy Temple mount. There will be warnings, ignored, a stock market crash (which will recover temporarily).
    Now I did get the details of my Nov 12 prediction wrong, nothing dire occurred (and I paid up), but Nov 12 was the birthday of the new Iranian president who is “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Anyway as Alan Abelson (editor of Barron’s) once said, if your prediction fails the only thing to do is predict again. Any takers on the bet?

    1. I don’t see enough details in this prediction. What’s your timeline? As for Nov 12, I don’t think you can connect dots backwards to someone born decades before your date of prediction. 😉 Just sayin’…

      1. Jeffrey Askanazi MD Avatar
        Jeffrey Askanazi MD

        Specifics, 6-9 months for negotiations to be complete and Jerusalem cut apart, stock market crash during the first 6 months as well as other calamities as warning. Agree on Nov 12, paid up if you recall. Final catastrophe for Israel few years away. The bet is negotiations end with a Palestinian State and the Temple carved up within 9 months, after that another bet on other developments

      2. Oh, I recall quite well. 🙂 Definitely wasn’t dissin’ you about paying up. Just also pointing out it’s hardly legit to connect dots backwards like that. 🙂 Nine months for your “baby” to appear. Or I’ll be looking for even bigger & better chocolate (and the Nov 12 chocolate was already “bigger and better”!) on my doorstep. 😉

      3. jeffrey askanazi Avatar
        jeffrey askanazi

        Godiva this time, but it might as well be in Ft. Knox, I’m winning this one.:)

      4. Yeah, yeah. Whatever you say. 😉

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